I often wonder why the orphans sitting in there big metal cribs don't speak, make many noises and rock back and forth. In reading the article by Charles Nelson, Research director, Boston Children’s Hospital he writes :
Psychosocial deprivation is essentially a lack of caregiver stimulation and investment. It is particularly common among children reared in institutions. Researchers, myself included, have been studying the effects of psychosocial deprivation in Romanian children who were institutionalized as infants. These orphans lived in large white rooms crowded with cribs. They were fed and changed but otherwise ignored.
Infants who lack external stimulation often resort to self-stimulation. A common form of self-stimulation is repetitive behavior, such as hand flapping or rocking. We found that more than 60 percent of children in our study show these behaviors, even though most fall short of an autism diagnosis.
Curious consequence: Roughly 1 in 10 children raised in Romanian orphanages has autism features.